The English have been enjoying brunch since the 1890s, when writer Guy Beringer proposed the hybrid meal between breakfast and lunch as a civilised way to deal with a hangover.
Not just a way to calm delicate stomachs, brunch was also a social occasion, perfect for swapping debauched tales from the previous evening. And indulging in a little hair of the dog, if necessary.
“Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting,” he wrote in his 1895 essay Brunch: A Plea. “It is talk-compelling. It makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings.”
And though his brunch plea was written over a century ago, it’s perfectly fitting for Albert’s Schloss, the cavernous Bavarian bier palace on Peter Street.
The menu features all the brunch classics you’d expect, such as steak and eggs and French toast, along with more unusual dishes such as crayfish eggs Benedict. Breads, pastries, cruffins and kronuts are all baked in-house daily.
Drinks include freshly squeezed juice, artisan coffees and teas and malty milkshakes, plus a couple of boozy options such as mimosas, Bloody Marys, French 75 cocktails and prosecco.
Brunch is a good thing. But half-price brunch is even better, and Albert’s Schloss is offering 50% off weekday brunch on pre-bookings throughout August. Perfect for grabbing a group of mates for a mid-morning feast.
Which is exactly what we did, to try out a range of brunch dishes and see what’s on offer. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.
Let’s start with the king of dishes: the Royal Breakfast. There’s a whopping kaiserwurst sausage made with pork and cheddar, indulgent, meaty, perfectly seasoned and an utter treat.
Then there’s treacle cured streaky bacon, two sunnyside eggs with dippy golden yolks, buttery mushrooms, beans, grilled tomato, crisp golden homemade potato rösti and thick slices of sourdough toast.
It’s a belter – and a belt-loosener to boot.
There’s a meat-free version, which comes with veggie black pudding, grilled halloumi and smashed avocado enlivened by fresh chilli plus all the trimmings.
Eggs Benedict is given a stylish makeover, with the usual ham, bacon or salmon replaced by tender, delicate crayfish sitting between two toasted muffins with spinach, poached eggs and hollandaise spiked with fragrant, aniseedy tarragon.
Steak and eggs sees thick slices of flat iron, satisfyingly seared outside and perfectly pink within, topped with poached eggs just needing a prod with the knife to ooze their sunshiney yolks into rich, buttery hollandaise.
There are sweet treats, too. Schloss have their own in-house bakery, with fresh bread, pastries, pretzels and other carby creations baked fresh daily.
Sweet brioche french toast comes laden with forest berries and honey frozen yoghurt, or with banana, maple syrup, vanilla ice cream, candied pecans and butterscotch.
Albert’s Schloss have made a name for their cruffins and kronuts, sweet croissant-muffin and croissant-doughnut hybrids in a range of flavours.
Think black forest gateaux-inspired pastries filled with cherry jam and smothered in smooth dark chocolate, or topped with caramelly Biscoff spread and strawberry jam. Or perhaps a sweet, sticky salted caramel and popcorn topping well worth ruining your teeth for.
There are some healthier options too – roast peaches with quark yoghurt, sour cherry, pistachio granola, honey and lime, or a super grain bowl topped with a poached egg, grains, avocado, pickled carrot, edamame and spicy harissa. There are no dedicated vegan options yet, though they’re on the way.
But if you want to indulge, this must be one of the best brunches in the city. It really is cheerful, sociable and inciting.
And with 50% off when you book from 8am – 11.30am, Monday to Friday throughout August, you can treat a friend. Or just eat twice the amount. Nobody would judge you when the menu’s this good.